By James Nalton.
Manchester United are today looking to finalise the transfer of 18-year-old Uruguayan winger Facundo Pellistri for a fee of £8m.
Pellistri’s medical took place in his hometown of Montevideo over the weekend, leaving Man United time to tie up the loose ends on transfer deadline day.
The teenager would arrive in the UK without work permit issues as his second nationality is Spanish.
Pellistri has played primarily as a right-winger so far, but looks like he has the skills to play centrally or as a playmaker from the left. pic.twitter.com/VJwKRgKbav
— James Nalton (@JDNalton) October 5, 2020
He had previously attracted interest from French side Lyon, and was all set to join the club but the deal fell through in the final stages.
Chelsea, Juventus, and Manchester City had also been keeping tabs on the player, but only Man United and Lyon had made serious bids.
United’s bid matches his release clause of $10m which includes $400,000 for intermediaries.
“He’s a fun player to watch, he’s a joy to watch,” said Miller. “As soon as you sit down and watch him you can see what all the excitement is about.”
Robinson adds: “Seeing someone break through from such an esteemed academy as Peñarol’s, as soon as you see an 18-year-old getting regular game time there, it’s something worth sitting up and taking notice.
“When you actually get to watch him play, you can see why he’s someone who has already become quite an integral part of the first team. He the next big thing to come out of Peñarol.
“For someone who’s a winger, he’s not the typical explosive winger, but he sort of glides around the pitch.
“I think his intelligence, decision making, and maturity for someone who is still only 18 years old is something that really makes you sit up and take notice.
“His stats aren’t groundbreaking by any means, but when you do watch him you see he hasn’t got any fear and will take people on.
“He links well with teammates and I think the variety his play is another thing — he’s not someone who is always looking to get to the byline and whip a cross in, he’s someone who can happily cut inside and play nice triangles with other players.
“He picks up difficult positions to mark between the full-back and central defenders, without being necessarily one of these super goal-driven front three type players.”
Positionally, Pellistri currently acts as a traditional winger, but the way he plays the role is much different.
This led to suggestions that his future could be in the centre as a midfielder or No.10, or as playmaker from the left.
“He’s so good passing the ball,” adds Miller. “He’s such an intelligent player, and he’s got a quick first step, and can beat a defender with a first-touch.
“His passing ability and his vision and intelligence, I could see him shifting to the middle at some point depending on where he ends up and the style he ends up in.”
— CONMEBOL Libertadores (@TheLibertadores) September 30, 2020
The teenager is a right-footed creative player, who still has work to do on finishing, and possibly in the gym as he develops.
“He’s got the physique of a teenager still,” says Robinson. “He can still work on his upper body strength and that kind of thing but, crucially, the work rate and mentality of not just being a luxury player is truly instilled in him.
“In terms of where he could end up position-wise, he’s versatile. He could benefit from the narrow 4-4-2 Uruguay have traditionally played — basically a winger but keeping it fairly narrow — or he’s someone who will likely and up in a central midfield role as a playmaker, or a box-to-box type player in a more elegant, gliding way, than usual.”
He was picked as one of South America’s emerging stars ahead of the 2020 Copa Libertadores, but a move to a club the size of Manchester United was not expected so early on his career.